Last week the US Congress passed its first budget in six years. Quickly signed into law by President Obama, the deal marks a major development in the path towards renewable and green energy investments. The incentives and tax credits send the message to cities and states throughout the country that the federal government may finally be getting serious about pursuing ambitious climate solutions.
So what does the new budget include? The crux of the bipartisan deal includes a renewable energy tax credit extensions, which cut across the entirety of the green energy sector, but are perhaps most beneficial to the wind and solar sectors. The credits are expected to foster further growth throughout the renewable energy generation industry—leading to technological developments, and hopefully decreasing costs associated with investing in renewable infrastructure.
For cities and mayors, this means creating opportunities to transition from dirty energy, to clean and green production. Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, says it best: "With predictable policies now in place, we will continue advancing wind turbine technology, driving down our costs and passing the savings on to American families and businesses in all corners of the country.”
Saving money for families, reducing costs for businesses, and creating stable, well paying jobs to install and manufacture wind and solar are all winning opportunities that mayors can bring to their cities. And mayors can drive this change. Nudging residents to invest in rooftop or community solar, pressuring local utilities to transition to renewable generation, and encouraging businesses to invest in renewables are all actions that can be taken at the local level. Mayors have the power to improve the lives of residents living in their cities. Community action at the local level is the first step. Find out more, and join with like-minded leaders at Path to Positive Communities.
The U.S. solar and wind power industries will mark the holidays with heightened spirits after receiving multiyear extensions of their coveted renewable energy tax credits from a divided Congress.
On Friday, the House and Senate agreed by significant margins to grant extensions to the 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy and the 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit (PTC) for wind power.
Other technologies — including geothermal, marine energy and small hydropower — received one-year extensions to their 30 percent ITC under the joint spending and tax measures passed Friday and expected to be signed by President Obama this week.
The largest beneficiaries of Congress' year-end gifting were the solar and wind sectors, both of which will see their tax credits extended to at least the end of the decade.
"This is one of the most significant stimulus policies for the renewable sector I've seen in the past 10 years," said Alex Klein, senior director of renewable power research at the consulting firm IHS Inc.
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